This was written by my husband about the events of this week:
So we are in the last stages of getting our building done and it will be done this week. More than one thing has disappeared from the building over the last 6 months, but nothing too big until……….
Two days ago the cable folks came out to install our internet and phone. They informed me they needed a computer to check it out. I say ‘sure, use my laptop, but PLEASE hand to it our administrator who is doubling as a painter upstairs because if you don’t it will walk off!” They laughed…we laughed, and they said ok. Two hours later they leave. An hour after that I am giving a tour of the building and see my charger plug sticking out of the wall… and nothing else. After a search of the building and a quick interrogation of our Administrator/painter I realize I am in trouble.
I question about 10 kids standing out front of our building and realize there are two others who left ‘in a hurry with a bookbag’ and that it had to be them cause ‘those two steal all the time’. I pile some kids in my truck and go straight to the projects behind our building to the home of both boys. Only one mom is home. I explain to her that I got no proof who did it, that my computer was stolen, and that her son is one of two I haven’t gotten to question about it yet. She informs me that she is ‘gonna beat his ass if he took it’. I then come back toward our building and see this boy walking down the street. I pull him off to the side and tell him that my computer disappeared, that I really need it, tell him there is a reward for it, then ask if he will help me find it. He first tries to tell me he wasn’t in the building, then that he was for a minute, then that he will ‘help’ me.
That night three older friends tell me that they will get the word out and find that computer. It begins to get really funny to me cause I start to wonder if someone is really ‘gonna get a beat down’ or worse when someone discovers who did it. The ‘right’ people are now using some interesting avenues to look for this computer ( I would say ‘if you know what I mean’ but I am not sure I know what that means! ) Well, anyway, a 6 foot 4 dreadlocked ‘brother’ of mine goes up to the middle school and gets the word out to the principal also about what had happened who promises an interrogation of about 12 of the boys. So, at this point there are all types of various investigators, with various backgrounds and various sources of income all trying to get my laptop back.
Then at 3:30 a bunch of small children try to descend on the building to run around, beg for “fitty cents” and disobey all attempts of ours to keep them out of the building until its complete, etc, you know, like any other day. Well as we are ushering them out of the gate one of the guys working in the building tells them in passing ‘until you help get the computer that was stolen back you can’t come in’. Most start jabbering “I aint seen no computer”. But after begging for a peppermint from me, two of them say, “does it have an apple on it with a bite out of it?!” I say ‘yes, have you seen it?’ (dangling peppermints! Ha!) Then they say, “and some pictures of you and your kids at a birthday party on the screen?’ I am now stunned (and dispersing peppermints like there is no end). ‘Where did you see it?’ “It’s in my house right now. (I am now making it rain peppermints) My brother stole it! (The same boy I asked about it on the side of the road, and whose mom I had talked with). I load them up and return to the same projects again. We knock on the door and the mom answers. I say, “I know my computer is or at least was in your house, these boys just told me what pictures were on it”. She started to pace around talking about severely injuring the boy who stole it and saying that she was asleep when the 14 year-old got home last night and hadn’t spoken with him yet. As the cussing and fuming intensified I looked to the little boy and quietly tell him to go up to where he saw it hidden last and get it. He disappears. I wait while the mother is still expounding on how she is gonna woop the older boy in very creative terms. A minute later I hear ‘here dat man’s commuter!’ and the little boy comes running out with it! I told the mom, “I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to take care of these little dudes… can I do something nice for them?” She said yes.
On the way back, I see one of the thieves. I pulled over, held up the computer and said “look what I just found. You and me, we are going to talk later. You understand?” He just stood there, a little stunned.
Think and pray with me about how I am going to use this situation in a redemptive way with these 2 boys. I think that we have a golden opportunity here, and I don’t want to miss it.
P.S. this is the best thing I have ever typed on this computer! It feels that way anyway after having it back!